Wed. Aug 10th, 2022
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    Editor’s Note: The results of this spring eDiscovery Business Confidence Survey present the unfortunate impact of COVID-19 on the business of eDiscovery. The results also paint a picture of the resilience and optimism of the people and providers of the eDiscovery ecosystem as shared by 172 legal, business, and technology professionals.

    The eDiscovery Business Confidence Survey

    The eDiscovery Business Confidence Survey is a non-scientific quarterly survey designed to provide insight into the business confidence level of individuals working in the eDiscovery ecosystem. The survey consists of nine core multiple-choice questions focused on factors related to the creation, delivery, and consumption of eDiscovery products and services. Additionally, the survey contains three optional questions focused on the business operational metrics of days sales outstanding (DSO), monthly recurring revenue (MRR), and revenue distribution across customer bases.

    Initiated in early 2016, to date the survey has been administered eighteen times with 2,089 individual responses. The survey is open to legal, business, and information technology professionals operating in the eDiscovery ecosystem and individuals are invited to participate primarily via direct email invitations.

    Spring 2020 Survey Results

    The spring 2020 survey response period was initiated on April 2, 2020, and continued until the registration of 172 responses (April 15, 2020). Thanks to the support of the leadership at both the Association of Certified E-Discovery Specialists (ACEDS) and the Electronic Discovery Reference Model (EDRM), this quarter’s survey experienced strong response rates and presents a strong picture of the current confidence levels of participants and practitioners in the eDiscovery ecosystem.

    While individual answers to the survey are confidential, the aggregate and unfiltered results are published to highlight the business confidence of participants regarding economic factors impacting the creation, delivery, and consumption of eDiscovery products and services during the spring of 2020.


    Business Confidence Questions (Required)

    n = 172 Respondents

    1. Which of the following segments best describes your business in eDiscovery?
    Part of the eDiscovery ecosystem where your organization resides.

    • Law Firm – 36.6% (Up from Winter 2020)
    • Software or Services Provider – 29.1% (Down from Winter 2020)
    • Consultancy – 16.9%  (Up from Winter 2020)
    • Corporation – 9.9% (Up from Winter 2020)
    • Governmental Entity – 4.7% (Up from Winter 2020)
    • Media/Research Organization – 1.7% (Down from Winter 2020)
    • Other – 1.2% (Down from Winter 2020)
    1-Survey-Respondents-by-Organizational-Segment-Spring-2020

    2. How would you rate the current general business conditions for eDiscovery in your segment?
    Subjective feeling of business performance when compared with business expectations.

    • Good – 27.3% (Down from Winter 2020)
    • Normal – 41.3% (No Change from Winter 2020)
    • Bad – 31.4% (Up from Winter 2020)
    2-Current-Business-Climate-Overview-Spring-2020

    3. How do you think the business conditions will be in your segment six months from now?
    Subjective feeling of business performance when compared with business expectations.

    • Better – 37.8% (Down from Winter 2020)
    • Same – 39.5% (Down from Winter 2020)
    • Worse – 22.7% (Up from Winter 2020)
    3-Business-Climate-Overview+Six-Months-Spring-2020

    4. How would you guess revenue in your segment of the eDiscovery ecosystem will be six months from now?
    Revenue is income generated from eDiscovery-related business activities.

    • Higher – 32.0% (Down from Winter 2020)
    • Same – 33.7% (Down from Winter 2020)
    • Lower – 34.3% (Up from Winter 2020)
    4-Revenue-Overview+Six-Months-Spring-2020

    5. How would you guess profits in your segment of the eDiscovery ecosystem will be six months from now?
    Profit is the amount of income remaining after accounting for all expenses, debts, additional revenue streams, and operating costs.

    • Higher – 25.0% (Down from Winter 2020)
    • Same – 39.5% (Down from Winter 2020)
    • Lower – 35.5% (Up from Winter 2020)
    5-Profits-Overview+Six-Months-Spring-2020

    6. Of the six items presented below, what is the issue that you feel will most impact the business of eDiscovery over the next six months?
    Challenges that may directly impact the business performance of your organization.

    • Budgetary Constraints – 51.2% (Up from Winter 2020)
    • Increasing Volumes of Data – 16.3% (Down from Winter 2020)
    • Lack of Personnel – 11.0% (Down from Winter 2020)
    • Data Security – 8.1% (Down from Winter 2020)
    • Increasing Types of Data – 8.1% (Down from Winter 2020)
    • Inadequate Technology – 5.2% (Down from Winter 2020)
    6-Issues-Impacting-eDiscovery-Business-Performance-Spring-2020

    7. In which geographical region do you primarily conduct eDiscovery-related business?
    The location from which you are basing your business assessments.

    • North America (United States) – 89.0% (Up from Winter 2020)
    • North America (Canada) – 4.7% (Up from Winter 2020)
    • Europe (UK) – 2.9% (Down from Winter 2020)
    • Europe (Non-UK) – 1.2% (Down from Winter 2020)
    • Middle East/Africa – 1.2% (Down from Winter 2020)
    • Asia/Asia Pacific – 0.6% (Down from Winter 2020)
    • Central/South America – 0.6% (Down from Winter 2020)
    7-Survey-Respondents-by-Geographic-Region-Spring-2020

    8. What are best describes your primary function in the conduct of your organization’s eDiscovery-related business?

    • Legal/Litigation Support – 76.2% (Up from Winter 2020)
    • Business/Business Support (All Other Business Functions) – 17.4% (Down from Winter 2020)
    • IT/Product Development – 6.4% (Down from Winter 2020)
    8-Survey-Respondents-by-Primary-Function-Spring-2020

    9. What are best describes your level of support in the conduct of your organization’s eDiscovery-related business?

    • Operational Management – 35.5% (Up from Winter 2020)
    • Tactical Execution – 36.0% (Up from Winter 2020)
    • Executive Leadership – 28.5% (Down from Winter 2020)
    9-Survey-Respondents-by-Level-of-Support-Spring-2020

    Business Metric Trajectory Questions (Optional)

    10. How would you characterize the trajectory of your organization’s Days Sales Outstanding (DSO) during the last quarter?
    n=150 Respondents

    • Increasing – 19.3% (Down from Winter 2020)
    • Unfluctuating – 22.0% (Down from Winter 2020)
    • Decreasing – 15.3% (Up from Winter 2020)
    • Do Not Know – 43.3% (Up from Winter 2020)
    10-eDiscovery-Business-Metric-Trajectory-Days-Sales-Outstanding-Spring-2020

    11. How would you characterize the trajectory of your organization’s Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR) during the last quarter?
    n=150 Respondents

    • Increasing – 15.3% (Down from Winter 2020)
    • Unfluctuating – 25.3% (Up from Winter 2020)
    • Decreasing – 26.0% (Up From Winter 2020)
    • Do Not Know – 33.3% (Up from Winter 2020)
    11-eDiscovery-Business-Metric-Trajectory-Monthly-Recurring-Revenue-Spring-2020

    12. Which of the following statements best describes the distribution of your organization’s revenue across your customer base during the last quarter?
    n=150 Respondents

    • Increasing – 16.0% (Down from Winter 2020)
    • Unfluctuating – 30.0% (Up from Winter 2020)
    • Decreasing – 18.7% (Up from Winter 2020)
    • Do Not Know – 35.3% (Up from Winter 2020)
    12-eDiscovery-Business-Metric-Trajectory-Distribution-of-Revenue-Across-Customer-Base-Spring-2020

    Past Survey Results

    Source: ComplexDiscovery

     

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    ComplexDiscovery is an online publication that highlights cyber, data, and legal discovery insight and intelligence ranging from original research to aggregated news for use by cybersecurity, information governance, and eDiscovery professionals. The highly targeted publication seeks to increase the collective understanding of readers regarding cyber, data, and legal discovery information and issues and to provide an objective resource for considering trends, technologies, and services related to electronically stored information.

    ComplexDiscovery OÜ is a technology marketing firm providing strategic planning and tactical execution expertise in support of cyber, data, and legal discovery organizations. Focused primarily on supporting the ComplexDiscovery publication, the company is registered as a private limited company in the European Union country of Estonia, one of the most digitally advanced countries in the world. The company operates virtually worldwide to deliver marketing consulting and services.

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